He not only didn't state he was God, he made statements directly
contradicting that. For instance "Give the things of Caesar to
Caesar, give the things of God to God and give Me what is Mine."
If he had believed he was God, he certainly wouldn't have said that.
Needless to say, the third part was sanitized out of Matthew, Mark and
Luke at some stage.
> 1. He accepted worship
> Jesus consistently said, "I am what's important. Pay attention to me,
> not some external Way I am revealing. I am the Way."
That's not a quote, it's words being put in his mouth. The phrase
"the Way" or "the Path" is standard imagery applied to Essene and
Zealot liberation theology long before Jesus' time and to
Christianity, not to Christ, until the name "Christianity" was
invented (Acts 26:11, IIRC).
> 2. He claimed pre-existence
> [...] "Are you greater than our father Abraham?"
> Jesus responds with the classic, "Before Abraham was, I am." [...]
You're reading an awful lot into that. What would you make of
logion 12 from the "Gospel according to Didymos Judas Thomas" found at
The disciples said to Jesus: We know that thou wilt go away from us.
Who is it who shall be great over us? Jesus said to them: Wherever
you have come, you will go to James the righteous for whose sake
heaven and earth came into being.
> 3. He forgave sins
> [...] Jesus is basically saying that any
> sins you have committed - any wrong you've ever done - has been done
> against me, and therefore I have the authority to release you from
> punishment for them. As the leaders said, "Who can forgive sins but
> God alone?"
Hmmm, I read things like "it shall be forgiven him", and "it shall not be
forgiven him" and "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Where is "your sins are against me and I forgive you" which you seem
to be suggesting? He does says "the Son of man has authority to
forgive sins" but also "I do nothing on my own authority but speak as
the Father taught me." He is clearly dispensing God's forgiveness,
not forgiving on his own. The people who claimed otherwise were
scribes and Pharisees trying to catch him out.
> 4. He claimed equivalence with God
He claimed to be sent by God.
>[...] misunderstood phrase "God is my father." [...]
He said "Our Father who art in heaven".
If you (will) know yourselves, then you will be known and you will
know that you are the sons of the living Father.
If they say to you "(Who) are you?", say: "We are His sons and we
are the elect of the Living Father".
Would you claim that all the disciples were therefore equivalent to
God as well? Heck they even had authority to preach and heal and
cast out demons etc.
> [...] This left a certain amount of
> ambiguity which took a while to resolve, but the debate was
> essentially whether Jesus was fully God or some third category, not
> about him possibly being a normal man. The record leaves no room for
> that option.
Actually that option was most definitely one of the "heresies" in play.
-- Rob, who thinks that one should rely on the quotes in the oldest
possible sources, not on doctored versions and interpretations made
afterwards. Doesn't mean they are absolute truth but at least they
are a lot closer to it.